Tudorama

“Double double toil and trouble.” Oops, wrong story. Just a sec. Oh, here it is. Right where I put it. Amazing what you can’t see without your glasses. So here goes.

In Merry Olde England, there was a very happy couple. He called her Puddin’; she called him Dumpling. Would have called him her Doughboy, but that one had already been taken by the King of France. Francis One.

Annie Boleyn met Henry on a blind date. She was a sub for her sister Mary Beth. When he walked into the Great Hall of Boleyn Estates and her two peeps saw him, it was love at first sight. It was true that he did look like a doughboy. That was the charm of King Hal. Plus there was that twinkle in his eye, and he was a regular party guy.

Within hours of his arrival, King Hal had a party going at Casa Boleyn. It was a toga party. After all, Hal was a regular practitioner of toganomics. If a courtster was unwilling to wear a toga at court, he was on his way outster. The outster for most was Scotland where the lord in question was condemned to wearing a kilt without underpants. One could get a chill and catch the flu.

Pretty soon Annie eased up close to Hal. She wanted a little kissie-poo as she called it. The king was real accommodating with the kissie-poo, but soon he was wanting more. He was wanting Annie to share her boudoir. She may have been the partyingest of party girls, but she wasn’t about to give Hal the key to her chastity belt for free. She’d heard stories. He even said, “Pleeeze with a cherry on top.” But Annie wasn’t about to give in.

“I’m not that kind of girl,” Annie said. She was not about to be easy, even for a king. Annie being Annie, she had found her Daddy Warbucks in Hal and that was all there was to it. Opportunity came knocking, and she was ready to open the door. But Hal had to purchase a ticket to walk through that door. And her ticket was not cheap. It was a 500 carat diamond wedding ring.

Hal was devastated. This was definitely a true love he had for Annie. He could feel it in the way down yonder. He said, “Don’t be a heartbreaker, Puddin’. Don’t you know I’m a hunka hunka burning love?”

Annie’s response was a smile and a few words. “I really would like to give you the key to my heart, Dumpling. But I will need a ringie-poo pretty please with pudding on it.”

Hal could give his Puddin’ the sable she wanted. He could give her an Astin Martin. He could even give her the Queen Mary. But that wedding ring was out of the question. He already had a wife. If Hal had been a Middle Eastern potentate, he could have potentated all over the place and married as many women as he wanted. Deep down in the heart of Texas, Hal wanted a harem.

His wife was Catherine of Aragon. Thing was, Cate was no Annie Boleyn. She had her daddy’s looks and her mother’s hygiene. Like her mom, Isabella, Cate hated to take a bath. She wasn’t partial to showers either. So the odor coming from her boudoir was a bit overpowering. Not in a good way. At one time, Hal sent in the fumigators. But the smell returned within a week. Add to that, Cate wore one of them smiles upside down. So much so she was called Sourpuss, or SP for short. She was the original SPCA, short for Sour Puss Cate of Aragon.

On top of everything else, each fortnight she walked around the castle like Hamlet’s ghost, mumbling, “I can’t get no respect.” It was true. Cate got no respect. Hal wanted a boy and all he got from Cate was a Mary.

“So what to do?” Hal asked himself one dark and stormy night. “What to do?” Then with a flash of brilliance it came to him. “I know. I will get a divorce,” Hal said, and he said it where everybody could hear.

“A divorce?” one courtster said.

“A divorce?” another courtster echoed.

When the echoing finally settled down, King Hal commanded the Pope to give him a divorce. After all, Hal was the Pope’s right hand man in England and Defender of the Faith. But the Pope wasn’t up to the job. He had other things on his mind. Like Cate’s brother, the King of Spain. King Charlie had an army close to Rome and he wasn’t hesitant in using it.

Besides that, it would set a precedent. Precedent is legalese for all those things that come before everything else and give folks permission to do a thing. Like, if you marry a virgin, she has to be a virgin in order to get a divorce. Cate was no virgin. She had a kid name of Bloody Mary. And, no, she was not mixed with vodka. Mary was a teetotaler all the way.

Pretty soon any earl or lord would want a divorce. Before you knew it, the papacy would be so overloaded there wouldn’t be any time left for infallibilities, bulls and indulgences. What if the Pope wanted to profligate a Papal Bull or two, he wouldn’t be able to rope the darn thing and ride him all the way to Rome. No, the Pope had decided. Divorce wasn’t going to happen. So Pope said, “No way. Pretty soon we’d be backed up with all that paper work.”

Hal’s motto was “Esse rex bonum est.” He had a coat of arms to prove it. Now he felt like he was in Nowheresville.

“What to do?” Hal asked everybody. “What to do?” he even asked himself. No one had an answer.

Then he received a letter from far far off. It was across the Channel. It was from Germany. Unfortunately it was written in German and no one could translate it. Hal and his subjects could barely read Latin. But German? Nobody, but nobody could do German. Then Hal realized, “My portrait painter Hans can. Yes, he can can, can he not?”

“Of course, he can can,”” a duke said. So did an earl. In fact, it was the Duke of Earl.

Hans translated the letter. It was from one Marty Luther. “Hal,” Marty wrote, “Is not your motto, esse rex bonum est? Of course, it is. It indeed is good to be the king. As king, you have the right to a divorce. If the Pope don’t like it, he can go out and start his own church. That’s what I did.”

Before Cate could spell it, she was singing D-I-V-O-R-C-E. When asked by a reporter years later about the whole thing, all she could say was, “Yes I have no bananas today.” There was even a rumor that she was zombified in her later years. But I think it was Mary, Queen of Scots, who pushed that gossip.

Anyway Hal got his divorce and a church to boot. He also got the key to Annie’s chastity belt. On their wedding day, King Hal increased every Englishman’s sheep allowance two-fold. That’s twice in today’s lingua franca.

For a while, Puddin’ and Dumpling were just as happy as two finches in a birdbath.

Well, y’all know what happened next. Annie gave Hal a Liz, not a Tom, Dick or Harry. And certainly not a Richard Burton. So his smile turned upside down. Annie delivered a girl. Yes, you heard that right. She gave birth to an eight pound two ounce little darling. Called her Elizabeth, or Bess for short. But oh boy, no boy.

Again Hal was what-to-do-ing all over the place. Then he came up with a plan. Let’s call it Plan B. Hal would get another divorce and then get married again. He already had a victim, I mean a queen picked out. After all, Hal could have the pick of the litter. And Jane Seymour, not the actress, but the daughter of John and Margery, was his Queen for a Day.

So what was Hal to do with Annie? Here’s where Plan Boleyn came in. Annie would be accused of consortin’ with those she shouldn’t be consortin’ with. Treason with a capital T. A trial, Then she would be singing “Going out of my head”. The executioner would do a Lizzie Borden.

But the truth was that Hal couldn’t bring himself to truly rid himself of Annie. She was his Puddin’. She was his One True Love. At the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion, Hal got a sub for Annie. No one would know the difference. Except for the sub. Sub would wear a hoodie. Annie would hide out in a nunnery down the way. Only there weren’t any nunneries left in England. Instead Archbishop would start a Home for Wayward Girls and Annie would supervise. Then once a fortnight Archbishop would slip Annie in the back way to Windsor Castle and up to Hal’s room.

And that’s the real story. Not.

Halloween County

It was well-known through out Halloween County. If you became sick, you were going to Dr. D’s hospital and eventually would end up in Dr. F’s mortuary. So the people of the County went on strike and refused to get sick. Unless it was absolutely necessary.

At that point, the EMTs delivered the person to the Emergency Room at Dr. D’s. Before they left home, it was “Goodbye, Uncle Osar” or “It’s been nice knowing you, Aunt Agnes.”

So the people of Halloween County did not get sick. It just wasn’t done. Or if they did, they acted like they were still well.

Before you could say, “I want to bite you on the neck,” Wellness Clinics sprang up around the County. Pretty soon they were like the churches. There was one on every corner.

One of the Clinics advocated exercise. Another gave out herbs. If the acupuncture treatments didn’t work, there was the Pyramid Spa. There you spent a day in the crystal construction. When you left, your pores were cleaned and your eyes saw through walls. At the Om Clinic, you did here an Om, there an Om and everywhere an Om-Om-Om. On every corner, there was an acapella group singing, “Om on the Range.”

Some of the residents didn’t trust the fancy-dancy new treatments. They went home remedy all the way. Maude Hickenbottom’s was the most popular. She recommended that  folks drink a thimble of bleach at midnight of a full moon. So every full moon you could hear the howls on the other side of the State.

And mothers were constantly urging their kids to take their vitamins. “But what kind of vitamin is it?” Junior asked. “I don’t know. Take them anyway.” Then mom added a threat that went all the way back to Hansel and Gretel, “Or you end up at Dr. D’s.”

This led to some good news and some bad news. The good news was all the residents of the County were healthy as horses and nobody ever went to the hospital. There was a Halloweeni woman who was a 137 years old and ran three miles a day. “I’m going to run till I drop” was her motto. As everybody knew, she never dropped.

The bad news was that Dr. D’s and Dr. F’s business had run out of customers. Being resourceful, the two of them brought in a team of experts.

For months, the team went through the County, examining each of the residents and studying their lifestyle. During the exam, one of the team would attach a whatchamacallit to a thingamajig and jot down the readings. Then they would ask a series of questions that would drive an advanced degree in physics student up the wall.

Finally the head of the team, Dr. Hypochondriactus, met with Dr. D and Dr. F. “There’s only one conclusion we’ve come up with.”

Dr. D was white as a sheep and had been unable to get a good day’s sleep in his coffin despite drinking a whole cellar full of Transylvania Kola. He leaned forward and demanded, “What?”

Dr. F joined Dr. D in his “What.”

“There is nothing wrong with these folks. They don’t have any special immunities or extra special genes to enable them to fight off sickness. There’s only one thing they all have in common. And it’s the one thing that prevents them from visiting your establishments.”

“And what’s that?”

“Fear.”

“Fear?”

“That and they drink a lot.”

The Very True Story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

You think you’ve heard what happened in Castle Elsinore back in fifteen-four-ought. You know, how Hamlet had his Daddy’s revenge on Claudius. Well, that’s not the story the Ham’s best bud, Horatio, told me, and he ought to know. He was an eye witness to all things Hamlet.

The truth of the matter is the Ham was afraid of ghosts. Hard to believe since the Old Man showed up slinking around the castle like he owned the place. But if you’re living in a castle five hundred years old, what can you expect? Walls gonna talk and what they’re going to say is Boo.

And not just ghosts scare bejeesus out of the Ham. Shadows walking the halls. Even his own shadow. The graveyard. Ophelia tippytoe-ing down the hall in her flip flops. His Mommykins anoring so loud it could be heard down in the graveyard. Claudius giving a kingly command. You name it. He was afraid of it. If he heard a clinking of armor outside his room at midnight, he was kissing the ceiling.

When the Ham was knee-high to a grasshopper, his Dad had sent him to Anti-Boo Skool. But that hadn’t worked. Those monks walking around in black scared him all the more.

Since this was the middle ages, there was no internet, no tv, no smart phone, no movies. There was not even books. So folks had to find a way to entertain themselves. After a while, counting toes just don’t hack it.

That’s when Polonius came up with a boo-a-thon. He just loved running up behind the Ham and watching him turn white as a white picket fence. Pretty soon half the castle was in on the gig. The one that sent the Ham the highest with their boo won a prize. It might be a free ticket to the fair. It might be sitting on the king’s throne for a minute. It might be getting on the graveyard express with poor Yorick. It became so popular that Claudius and Gertrude joined in.

For the Christmas, 1541, Polonius planned a boo-a-pa-looza, For the winner, there was a week’s vacay with the Romeo and Juliet Sunny Italy Tour. Some years before, the R&J had been a venture capital startup with King Lear as a silent partner. That had been in the days before Goneril and Regan had conned daddykins out of his kingdom and he ended up in the mad house.

Well, the Ham’s Dad got wind of the plan on the other side. Seems Horatio had a seance with Macbeth’s three witches and they communicated with him.

“What to do? What to do?” Dad asked in his best W.C. Fields. He asked Faust. He asked Beelzebub. He even asked Beetlejuice. Three times, no less. They came up with nada. Nothing. They thunk and they thunk until they were boo in the face. Then it hit them. Their old friend Scrooge. Perhaps he had a solution.

Scrooge introduced Dad to Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim knew people. He was a regular medieval Facebook and he had thousands of Friends and millions of Likes. Tiny Tim introduced him to Doctor Frankenstein. Doctor F snapped his fingers and said, “Have I got a monster for you,”

He opened his closet and rolled out the ugliest thing you ever saw. It was on roller skates.

“This is Thing,” he said. “He’s slow on the up side but I think he’s the Thing for you.”

“Great.”

Needless to say the night for the boo-pa-looza was not a pretty sight. Dad slipped the Ham out of the castle and dressed up Thing like the Prince.

Around midnight Thing left the Ham’s room. It was Polonius who took the first boo. Thing turned and went, “Boo.” Polonius’ eyes became saucers. His whole body turned white. And he left the castle faster than a speeding bullet. Right behind him were Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes and Ophelia and the rest of the boo-pa-looza gang. They disappeared into the darkness and haven’t been seen since.

Hamlet decided Italy was the place for him. it was sunny and the food was good and everybody had wonderful Italian names.

As far as Elsinore was concerned, it became a ghost town. I mean, literally it was a ghost town.

Munsters: A Horrible Little Comedy

A little unusual for me to post on this blog a smattering of a play but here’s the beginning of a musical comedy. The characters will be all the creatures from those old movies you know and love. So here goes.

Narrator: These stories always begin the same way. It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was. Lightning flashed, revealing a castle standing on a mountain in the darkness. Deep in the recesses of the castle is a large, wooden door. Sparks can be seen coming from behind the door. Then a voice:

Dr. Frankenstein: I’ve done it, I’ve really done it this time.

Narrator: The door opens. A white-haired man in a white laboratory coat leans over a large male body. The body is connected to electrical wires. Sparks slowly dying are coming from the body. He seems to be asleep. Then he begins to stir.

Dr. Frankenstein sings lovingly to the body the song, “Got a Blind Date and Ain’t Got Nothing to Wear Blues”:

I’ll be your Hannibal Lector, you’ll be my fava beans.

When you come to dinner, there’ll be lots of screams.

First I’ll cook up the liver, so tender and nice;

Then a kidney pie, I’ll cut you out a slice. 

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

I smell the blood of everyone.

I’ll be your Jack the Ripper, you’ll be my London girl.

You’re, oh, such a cut-up, the best in all the world.

From London to Paris and all points beyond;

Such a crazy pair, we’re having globs of fun.

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

I wanna taste the blood of everyone

You’ll be my Dr. Jekyll, I’ll be your Mr. Hyde.

Walking hand in hand, we’ll walk side by side.

The thrill of it all, just the two of you and me.

Just call me Mr. Multiple Personality.

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

I’m gonna suck the blood from everyone.

I just got bit by rabies, rabies in my drawers,

As I walked my bloodhound way out on the moors.

If I were Bing Crosby, I’d surely wanna croon;

Me, I’m really hungry, so I’ll howl at the moon.

Fee fee fie fie fo fo fum

There’s no blood in anyone

And we’re having oodles and oodles of fun.

Narrator: The large body rises and jerks the electric wires from his body. He is monstrous-looking but charming in a lost kind of way. He looks at the doctor, then he looks at a large pinup of a woman in a bathing suit nailed to the wall. He walks slowly over to the pinup and sings “Virgin Blues”:

When I was in school

We said it was cool

To be a virgin

We laughed at those

Who were not supposed

To be virgins

Sweet sweet virginity

Like some disease

Got stuck to me

When I got out

I roamed about

Still a virgin

Now in my older days

I’d like to dump the ways

Of being virgin

Sweet sweet virginity

Like some disease

Got stuck to me

Narrator: In the kitchen upstairs a small man, Igor, finishes preparing dinner for the doctor and his patient. He loads it all on a tray and takes the food downstairs, singing:

I likes them flies

when they dives

them flies

them flies

I likes them dried

peppered and spiced

and toads

big and growed

make the grade

for my lemonade

When all is said and done

lunch will be fun

and I can’t wait

for supper to animate

I catch me roaches

as they approaches

me roaches

me roaches

I likes them fried

strung up and dried

and snakes

is all it takes

to make a stew

good and grue—

some.

Narrator: Igor opens the door to the laboratory.

Igor: Room service.

Narrator: He takes lunch over to a table and uncovers it. As he does, he smells something odd. An odor. He looks over at the large fellow in love with the pin-up. He walks over and pulls the monster’s coattails.

Igor: Fellow, you are not going to get a girl, smelling like that.

Igor sings “Feed your feet”:

You can dress ‘em up just like Christmas      

In flip-flops or sandal ware                            

Loafers, brogans or cowboy boots                 

I really couldn’t care                                      

But I want you to understand                                   

What’s been since time began                        

That nothing can make a bod compleat         

If that body don’t feed his feet                     

Feed your feet, feed your feet               

For if you don’t, they’re sure gonna stink     

So feed those dogs or I can tell you well      

If you don’t, they’re gonna smell                  

Many’s the time I heard the shout

“What’s that odor? Get it out!”

Neither Mom nor wife would allow

That kinda small anyhow

Now I want you to understand

What’s been since time began

That nothing can make a bod compleat

If that body don’t feed his feet

Feed your feet, feed your feet           

For if you don’t, they’re sure gonna stink     

So feed those dogs or I can tell you well      

If you don’t, they’re gonna smell

Narrator: Igor leads the monster over to the bed, sits him down, pulls off his shoes and sprays his feet with Ye Olde Foot Spray.

Narrator: Meanwhile in the village below the mountain, a criminal is prowling the streets.

Narrator sings:

Oh, what do you know about Jack?
He had a mighty good knack
So let me give you the facts
He was needing
He was pleading
“Just give me a midnight snack.”

Oh, she made her way about town
Just a girl making her rounds
A bride in search of a gown
“I shall not tarry
Soon I’ll marry
A lord I think is a clown.”

Oh, why would she marry this guy?
He couldn’t even zip up his fly
No matter how hard he did try
He’d heave the ho
Give it a go
But the zipper had gone and died.

Said she was out for the money
Just a girl who’d never had any
And the lord had more than plenty
“Marry for love
You’ll grovel for grub”
That’s why her name was Penny

Well, she was out roaming the streets
Shopping for all kinds of treats
When it was the Ripper she meets
Her bodice did fall
Her bosoms enthralled
That night Jack fell off his feet

Soon Jack the Ripper was gone
He gave up ripping alone
These two are ripping real strong
Fast as they go
They doe-si-doe
Now they’ve got two ripplets at home.

The play does not end here. There’s more but where it is, it’s anybody’s guess.

City Politics

There had been a rumor that The Mayor would not run for a fourth term. Like most rumor mills, there was some truth to the rumor, but mostly the gossip was fiction. The Mayor had debated with himself whether he should go for a higher office such as Governor, Senator, even President. If he could run “the City Glorious”, why not the whole darn country?

Finally he decided for a fourth run. His reasoning was that he was having way too much fun as mayor. Why give up show business? Why run for President when every Tom, Dick and Harriet would be after your rear? That didn’t sound like fun.

The morning after The Mayor’s penis appeared on the eleven o’clock news, he announced his reelection campaign. When asked about the “genital appearance,” he told reporters, “I did it for the good of the city. Tourists will realize what a fun place we are.”

He had always been a tightrope walker, but this time he didn’t have a net. Now he was caught in a compromising position. His staff thought that the voters were not going to be happy about the whole thing.

“How could you show that thing on TV,” Mrs. Bartok, a teacher at a local elementary school, asked the newsroom, madder at the television station for showing it than at The Mayor for making the “appearance.”

When asked, the President of the Chamber of Commerce commented, “The Mayor’s only doing what comes naturally. Besides it’s good for business and it’s good for the image of the city.”

The night before the news broke, The Mayor had been in tough negotiations with the garbage people. During a particularly difficult part of the session, The Mayor needed to take a leak. He called a recess, urged all heads to cool off, while he went to the head. Then he made a dash down the hall to the men’s room because he had to go real bad. Twinkie Twinkler, a local tv reporter, followed, on the hunt for a story

For seven long years, Twinkie served in the journalistic wilderness. She put in her time as the perky weather girl. But she had ambition. She wanted to be an anchor. She spent months cajoling, begging the news editor to let her do some reporting, any reporting.

Finally he broke down and said, “Yes, as long as you continue to do the weather forecasts.” What could it hurt? the editor thought. I get both a perky weather girl and a news reporter. Just to be on the safe side, he assigned her to the city hall beat. Lots of boredom and no glory. He underestimated Twinkie.

When Twinkie told all her friends, they commented on The Mayor’s larger than life personality. He ran city hall like it was his own private fiefdom.

“That shrimp,” Twinkie said, unafraid. “He’s short and skinny and bald.”

“Yes,” her friend Norah said, “but he’s such a womanizer, except with his wife. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. So you watch yourself, kid.”

Now here she stood outside the men’s room. She needed a story to help her with her career. That’s when it came to her. Like a bolt of lightning. “I’ll get my story.” She walked through the men’s room door and saw The Mayor before one of the urinals.

“Mayor, can you give me a comment about the negotiations?”

When The Mayor turned around, Twinkie’s eyes became large moons. What Twinkie saw was unbelievable. So unbelievable she grabbed her smart phone from her purse, aimed its camera and clicked a pic. Just to be on the safe side, she took several clicks.

The Mayor was always a man who acted well under pressure. He hadn’t gotten where he was by backing down when confronted with what he would later refer to as “an interesting situation.”

“Well, my dear,” The Mayor said, standing there with his flag run up full mast. “I’m always glad to share a little of my charismatic personality with the local media.”

The pictures appeared on the eleven o’clock news. The phones started to ring off the wall around the town. His honor had done it again. Everybody was telling everybody else what they’d seen. “Can you believe it?” they asked.

The next day one of the city commissioners approached the city manager, “Do you think we could sell them? The pictures, I mean.”

“Maybe,” the city manager said. “We could use the money to pay off the budget deficit. At least it would keep the public’s mind off all the money we’ve stolen. I mean, wasted.”

The Mayor, who had always been popular, soon found his poll numbers going from 75% to 90%. The public loved him even more than they had before. It gave the city’s nickname “The City Gorgeous” a real meaning. A local amusement park even developed a Weiner Ride in honor of His Honor. The owner of the local minor league baseball team changed the name of his team from the Hot Dogs to the Hot Weiners.

All this was to say that it looked like The Mayor was going to be a shoo-in. Until he shot his wife.

Actually she shot at him first and missed. In the City Gorgeous it was to become known as the Shootout at the OK Corral, the OK Corral being the local watering hole for all the big fishes in the little pond.

When Mrs. Mayor thought about what she had seen on the news, she became angrier and angrier. Her anger started getting angry. She arrived at the OK around six the next night and she was totting. In her purse, she had a magnum the size of the thing The Mayor carried in his pants. Over in the corner, The Mayor squeezed one of his female constituents’ buttocks. He figured why not. Anything to keep the voters happy.

Mrs. Mayor pulled the gun from her purse and aimed. Then she said, “I haven’t seen that thang in a month of Sundays. Now here you are, showing it on TV. Who do you think you are?”

“I’m The Mayor.”

Mrs. Mayor fired, not once, not twice, but three times. Unfortunately she couldn’t hit the side of a barn. She was near-sighted. She missed The Mayor and hit his constituent in the bottom. It was not a pretty sight. It is never a pretty sight to see a bottom bleed all over the place.

The Mayor, being the opportunist he was, saw the opportunity he had been waiting for. A way to rid himself of a wife, who was no longer the entertainment she had once been, and get away with it. For a very long time, he had the hankerings for his secretary, Willow Pussywillow.

The Mayor pulled out the .45 he carried in the concealed weapon department and shot her corpus dilecti. Mrs. Mayor fell over dead. And not just dead. She was as dead as a corpse in a coffin six foot under.

Now the citizens of the City Gorgeous were a very tolerant people. Sure, The Mayor had no legal recourse but to stand his ground. It was a sure thing that he would get off scot free. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that the standoff would hurt the tourist trade. When the story broke on the national news, people cancelled their tickets to paradise by the bushel load.

There was only one thing to do. Fire The Mayor, arrest him and throw him in jail for exposing his weapon in public. And that was exactly what happened. As they say in the news biz, it was Bye Bye, Miss American Pie for The Mayor.